tv Up to the Minute CBS January 2, 2012 3:05am-4:00am EST
ttle bit. actually, i need some help with this, charlie. oh, great, and dad wonders why i can't get any work done. well, it's just i'm trying to figure out where, you know, whoever stole the pissarro would go next. with wheeler dead... i imagine the options are pretty limited. totally. but i do suspect that there are only a few places that this painting might end up, and that can be charted with a diffusion map using a network diffusion proba... whoa, whoa, whoa. just slow down. it's like a vehicle traveling along a network of roads. you know, cars can go anywhere, right? but a commercial truck is limited to how many routes it can travel, and if that truck is carrying hazardous material, well, then, the network becomes even more restricted. if it's carrying nuclear waste, the network becomes even more limited, and there are only a few destinations-- repositories-- where nuclear waste can go. it's the same with the pissarro. there are only a few places that it can travel. shoemaker might be right on target with the grandson. i have phone logs going back to the time that shoemaker made the settlement offer.
and? mrs. hellman's grandson made several calls to a private investigator specializing in the recovery of stolen artwork, peter tucci. why do i know that name? he has, uh, pending charges in istanbul related to the crime that michael ness is doing time for in turkey. ness is one of the art thieves that charlie pulled off the database. yeah, check this out. uh, the museum records its, uh, security footage digitally. i pulled an mpeg file from about three months ago. nice. megan: mrs. hellman's grandson? is he casing the place? he contacted tucci three years ago. about hiring ness to rip off the pissarro. tollner: but when ness got caught, he couldn't do the job. wow. joel hellman really couldn't take no for an answer.
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with peter tucci. that was over three years ago. right around the time the courts decided against you. (sighs): i lost my cool. it was a stupid thing to do. look, i understand how you feel. i mean with your grandmother and all and then not being able to help her. they embarrassed her. they brought in doctors and tested her memory and made her live through things that... that's a photo of you at the museum taken three months ago. i go a lot. i don't know, somehow it made me feel... better to be close to it. not as good as having it would make you feel though, right? no. i told you, i haven't done anything. so what do you think? well, i think he thought about it, but i don't think he did it. he didn't make any real efforts to cover his tracks either. well, now we're back to the owner, shoemaker, and the insurance scam. it's a nice theory, but so far i can't find a paper trail
between shoemaker and our thief, wheeler. i mean, there's no payments to a middle man, there's nothing. that painting's got to be somewhere. amita: yeah, the numbers are staggering. the nazis looted hundreds of thousands of artworks. nearly a fifth of all european art at the time. yeah, there's still a lot out there, you know? museums, dealers, collectors... yeah, it's just appalling-- blood trade. i am starting to see a pattern here. you know, the heaviest flow of art running along these networks. china being a prime destination. so we should start concentrating on networks supplying to china. (cell phone ringing) (phone beeps off) wouldn't be dad, would it? it's a standoff. hey, here's another chestnut from my rather exhaustive study of the great artists. did you know that monet's father wanted him to be a grocer? oh, yeah? hmm. good thing he didn't listen. well, fathers imposing their wills on their sons... i tell ya, that is the stuff of legend. charlie: this is hardly so grand. i mean, the last message he left me
equated my refusal to take out the garbage with my supposed commitment-phobia and my failure to settle down. there might be some truth in that. there what? uh, i'm just saying... where were we? china? don: hey, that smells good. where's charlie? i don't know, working late i guess. or hiding from you. he's been complaining? you been giving him a hard time? he owns the place, you know. remember when i was looking for a place of my own? and i thought that staying on here was gonna keep me from moving on. what does this have to do with charlie? well, he just comes and he goes. he has no idea how to maintain a home. dad, the guy's got a lot on his plate. hey look, i don't want to be a pest. i just want to make sure that when the time comes, he knows how to take care of his own house-- his own family if he ever has one. well, talk to him. i mean, you can't just ride him like he's a little kid. are you referring to my failures with you?
me? i'm a lost cause, pal. what's up? you had a tough day? you know i had to interview that holocaust survivor yesterday, her grandson today. oh, about that painting, huh? i felt weird 'cause nobody believes the woman; it's like her life never existed because there's nobody left who remembers it. yeah. you remember my mother's cousin, anna? yeah, i mean... yeah, it was the same way with her. she got out before the war, but she spent her whole life-- the whole rest of her life-- searching for her people. can you imagine that? i mean, living that life going through all that? this woman finds a piece and it gets taken away again. let me get you a plate. hey, did your mom's cousin ever find anyone? no, not a single soul. larry: still taking your meals outside the home, i see.
charlie: still brown bagging it. is this some of your work? it's my submission for entry into art school. one of the many life steps i never took. you're pretty good. don't mistake technical ability for originality. almost every one of these is a copy of a masterwork. my father insisted that before i attempt anything original, i had to understand those who came before me. i mean, what is all this red marginalia here? when network analysis came up empty i found these leads to china. still no sign of the pissarro so i must've miscalculated. you know, some of the greatest errors in cosmology have come not from poor math, but from poor assumptions. what poor assumptions am i making? well, current wisdom holds that the picture's nazi associations have compromised its potential for sale on the black market. compromised yeah, but eliminated no. yet you can find no market to which you can trace a sale.
china seemed the best bet. don came up empty. perhaps this pissarro is not for sale anywhere because for some reason it's simply not saleable. even with the taint, it's still worth millions. why wouldn't it be "saleable"? no idea. i'm leaving. all right. charlie: i think i've figured out why you haven't been able to find the pissarro. using a computer program that analyzes fine art paintings from enhanced photographs. now uses two criteria: craquelure... craquelure? it's a fancy word for the cracks that form on the surface of a painting. and those cracks form patterns which will give us an idea of where and when a work was painted because the pattern depends on the artist's materials: the paint, the brush... even the canvas. a painter in 15th century florence used different
materials than a painter in 17th century london. or a painter in 19th century paris. see, different materials and the vagaries of time create specific craquelure patterns which we can analyze using mathematical models. you said there were two criteria. right, well... the analysis also looks at visual style-- the artist's actual brushstrokes. like a fingerprint? more like a signature. see with currency, i used a wavelet analysis. but with paintings, i can use a more sophisticated curvelet analysis, allowing us to look at the art in three dimensions. using curvelet analysis, we can measure the contours and depth of an artist's brushstrokes, giving us a mathematical expression of the artist's unique signature... which we then use to evaluate other works attributed to the artist to see if the same hand did, in fact, paint them all. enhancing the museum catalogue photo of the pissarro, i ran both analyses and compared it to other pissarros from museums around the world. the results are undeniable.
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well, it has to be. this painting underwent an extensive authentication process when it arrived here a year and a half ago. then what about a switch? what if someone changed the painting since the authentication? how? hmm? when? i don't work at a museum, but have you cleaned the painting in the past year and a half? under the strict supervision of the museum conservator. who also, by the way, performed the authentication. and that would have been done on the premises, correct? yes. in our restoration department. the pissarro was taken down june 3rd for a cleaning. who did the work? me. and you also performed the authentication on the pissarro when it first arrived here? that's right. and you're certain that the painting you cleaned on june 3rd is the same one you authenticated eighteen months ago. patrick has been with me 20 years. i trust his judgment completely. so, there's no chance you missed something? this painting was the most important piece we've ever displayed here.
mr. holden? i'm certain that the painting was the same one that i examined a year and a half ago. you have your answer. is it you that also does the museum catalogues, mr. holden. for every exhibition. when was the photograph of the pissarro taken? i don't know. what do you mean you don't know? this particular photograph was furnished by the owner. peyton shoemaker gave you the photograph? once in a while an owner loaning a painting does accompany the piece with his own photographic documentation. megan: so shoemaker provided the photo when he first loaned the piece to the museum. the same photograph your brother used to determine it was a forgery. okay, so we're saying, what, the stolen one was a fake. but did shoemaker know it? he may even be the one who had it made. forgery of his own painting? owners often have forgeries made
to protect their art against theft. but maybe shoemaker was afraid he'd lose his painting another way. the hellmans. tollner: those type of claims never really go away. collectors tend to shy away from paintings with questionable histories for that very reason. in other words, if the hellmans ever find more evidence to support their claim... they could go right back to court. he creates a fake to hedge his bet. then he loaned it to the museum to get the break in the insurance premium. shoemaker might even be trying to pull off a double scam-- have the fake one stolen for insurance, right. and then sell the real one later on the sly. why steal back the fake pissarro now? i mean, it's been hanging on the museum wall for a year and a half. hey, wait, what that guy, that curator guy say... it was going on tour. next month. which would have meant another authentication. fool me once shame on you, fool me twice... now the question is... where is the real pissarro? right. you can add, but you can't hide. what's broken? i've come with a peace offering.
french dip. well, thank you, but you didn't have to do that. there are a lot of things i don't have to do, charlie, but i just do them because i want to. just feel like you worry about me too much, dad. charlie, look, you're a grown man, but you're still my son and i'm still your father. okay, i-i-it's not about the house or chores. it's, uh, it's about... accepting responsibility. (slams book shut) dad, i'm a... i'm a full-tenured professor at one of the most prestigious universities in this country. how do you think i got here, by slacking off? you can do the math, charlie, we all know that, but, uh, sometime, you're going to want more for your life. i know you can't see that right now, but... sometime, god willing, you're going to have to make a choice between one of your algorithms and one of your kids upstairs with the flu. i have a kid with the flu now? charlie, i look at larry, you know, a-and i respect him, but look at him-- he's all alone.
i mean, he sleeps on couches, puts his work ahead of relationships. you got to start somewhere. the kind of life i'm talking about, it just doesn't happen by magic. is that what this has been all about? you're worried that i'm going to turn into larry? (chuckles) i worry about that, too, sometimes. yeah... because i look around and i don't see the best role models. for example, einstein. einstein never had a home life. einstein dumped his wife and married his cousin. i hope that's not your way of making me feel better. dad, i'm wrestling with all this, all of it. my math, my work with don, amita. i'm sorry, i just don't have it all figured out yet.
you have no right. megan: actually, we have a warrant. this is ludicrous. you're telling me that my painting is a forgery based on an analysis of a photograph? a photograph that you submitted to the museum, and i spoke to your insurance company-- they're going to withhold your payment. yeah, well, i'll take them to court. i wouldn't count on the courts backing your play a second time, mr. shoemaker. the hellmans are behind this, aren't they? they paid some sleazy math expert to look at a photograph and say that my pissarro is a fake. well, if they think they're going to get something out of this, they're wrong. that's a really interesting theory, but the math expert works for us. why? why would i steal my own painting? and if it was a fake, why would the hellmans have fought for four years to get it back? nothing so far. of course, there's nothing! i didn't steal the painting and i never shot a gun off in my life. my father was an honorable man who served his country. he was not a criminal and neither am i.
so, where would someone like shoemaker hide that original? if he is our guy, he's done a real good job of eliminating the one witness who could pin the forgery on him. by killing wheeler. wait a minute, if he commissioned a fake, there's got to be a forger. maybe our second witness. find him, we find the killer. tollner: won't be easy catching this guy. i've met any number of forgers capable of work this good. well, maybe he's been caught before. maybe he even has a file. that's a lot of names to run down. well, what if we don't run down the names? what if we run down the paintings? we have a photograph of the forged pissarro, right? yeah, and the bureau has a photographic database of other forgeries seized over the years. so, we give the photograph to charlie, he can do an analysis against all the other forgeries. if he can tell us pissarro didn't paint the fake, maybe he can tell us who did. per your request, i compared my analysis of the forged pissarro to the fbi database of other recovered forgeries. the algorithm identified one painting in the database that most closely resembles the handiwork of our suspect to an accuracy rate
so, our forger died 60 years ago? yeah, so the fake's at least that old then. interpol just faxed over the file on gustav stolberg. in 1946, he was convicted of fraud. he died in prison two years later. hungarian police seized what they believed to be five forged paintings in his shop. take a look at the list. fourth title down. tollner: the pissarro. hungarian police assumed all five canvases were a fake. right, but one wasn't. so, we think that the real pissarro's been sitting in a hungarian police vault for 60 years? wouldn't surprise me. the communists never threw anything away. they packed the pissarro into a crate along with the other forgeries. so mrs. hellman's father must have paid stolberg to paint the forgery and then gave him the original for safekeeping. at least there's some justice; the nazis looted a fake. it also means that shoemaker's probably telling the truth. that he didn't know the pissarro was a forgery. and maybe no one did. look, the fact that that painting was stolen a month before it was supposed to go on tour can't be a coincidence. wait a minute. holden, the museum conservator. yeah.
if what you're saying is true, that the real pissarro has been found, then i must have made a mistake. a mistake? but you've been doing this for 20 years. the fact is, you lied to us, didn't you? you knew that pissarro was a fake the whole time. now we're not just talking about a painting. a man is dead. and you're looking at conspiracy to commit murder. whatever you were paid, mr. holden, it's not enough. paid? you think my integrity would be for sale? he said it would ruin us. we'd already announced the acquisition. it's one thing to display a painting that's suspected of being nazi looted art... ...but to exhibit a forgery? who said it would ruin you?
excuse me. excuse me. holden gave you up, ruiz. i spent my life devoted to the reputation of this museum. killing a man's not going to do much for the reputation. wheeler was a charlatan. he found out the painting was a forgery, he tried to blackmail you. do you know how difficult it is for a museum like ours to actually acquire a pissarro? yeah, but you didn't actually acquire a pissarro, did you? by the time patrick alerted me to the forgery, it was already too late... the pissarro had put us on the map. only the tour next month would have exposed you. i thought if the painting had just... disappeared-- what would be the harm? shoemaker had his insurance and the museum would have had its future. yeah, it's not much of a future now, is it? is this really necessary? yes, this is really necessary.
the hungarian police just delivered this. it's yours, nana. always has been. i think your father clearly saw the writing on the wall with the nazis. so he went to stolberg and commissioned a forgery. after all these years... to think, even i was beginning to question whether what i remembered was even true... i hope this will give you a little bit of comfort. larry: you know, i can't imagine-- six years old--
the world around you safe. then one day everything disappears-- parents, family, everything you know... one painting can only give you back so much. larry: well, maybe for mrs. hellman, given the wisdom of her years, that'll be enough. (door opening) oh, hey. what, you guys started without me, huh? alan: i'd think einstein would say we started with you. just a different time and space, am i right? i like that. i've been taking a closer look at einstein lately. what's to eat? red meat on the barbecue. provided we still have a barbecue. did you got my note, we're out of propane. i thought you'd take care of it. i'm kidding. we got a new tank, we're good to go. all right... no, no, no, stay, stay. i got it. you're gonna grill? yeah, you know, t-bone with mom's amazing steak sauce. a little corn on the cob.
you want some help? no, no. think i can handle it. charles, that is white corn. hey, you know how you told me about your mom's cousin not finding anyone. yeah. you think you could give me a list of names? you're gonna find them? yeah, i mean i'd like to try. what do you think? okay. captioning sponsored by cbs paramount network television and brought to you by toyota. moving forward. choose any direction as long as it's monmving forward. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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